A 6-year prostate cancer research plan released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) contains a detailed outline of the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) future strategy for dealing with the disease, which includes a shift in the standard treatment model from seek-and-destroy to target-and-control.
"This new paradigm has been referred to as a 'regulatory model' of cancer, viewing cancer as a maladaptive, evolving process with cancer cells differing from normal cells as a consequence of critical genetic changes leading to dysregulation of growth," the report said. Under the regulatory model, standard therapies would be combined with additional therapies to control the growth and spread of remaining cancer cells by targeting the multiple molecular pathways involved in dysregulation, the report said.
The 48-page report, titled "Prostate Cancer Research Plan FY 2003- FY 2008," resulted from a request by the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The committee asked NIH to address concerns that research on the disease "has not kept pace with scientific opportunities and the proportion of the male population afflicted with the disease." An estimated 189,000 US men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002, and an estimated 30,200 died from it.
The NIH report identifies goals, objectives, and strategies for seven critical areas of prostate cancer research: biology, progression, and metastasis; etiology and prevention; early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis; treatment; cancer control, survivorship, and outcomes; laboratory and preclinical models; and resource and capacity building. The full report is available online at http://searchosp1.nci.nih.gov/index.html.